Is the money spent eliminating Wall Warts worth the cost in improved SQ?

Echolane

Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2018
109
10
85
California
I have a system I’m really happy with. I think it sounds really quite wonderful. But I’m recently widowed and homebound and with considerable idle time I feel the itch to see if I can make my system even better. I spend 95% of my time listening to Roon streaming classical music or opera or New Age, maybe a little International and a little Jazz, but mostly solo vocals, violin, piano, guitar, folk, etc, IOW mid-range music.. I’m thinking of trying to eliminate the much maligned wall warts with Linear Power Supplies.
Has anyone tried an LPS like the UpTone JS-2 on the Roon Nucleus? The JS-2 can handle two pieces of gear and my Netgear Nighthawk Router is nearby and the only reasonable secondary candidate to use. I’d appreciate any feedback, pro or con to help me decide if I ought to spend precious dollars on this. I know this is a complicated area but I’m prepared to believe those who say it isn’t just 1s and 0s traveling the wires, and digital noise is real. I do have an Ether Regen in front of my DAC and I instantly heard an improvement when it replaced my Netgear switch. That said, the JS-2 is more than $1k and one has to ask the question: will I get that much benefit from it?
 

Crashem

Well-Known Member
Dec 22, 2015
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123
I would recommend getting a cheapo LPS on eBay that’s compatible and see how it does. Teradak is a brand that is on the cheaper side if a no name scares you. Should cost you under $200 If not around $100.

If you find a significant improvement, you can always move to more expensive solution and move the cheapo one elsewhere. Look for LPS review on audiobacon.net. He compares LPS on his dac(s) and USB cards. But the review goes into details on design of each so you can look into it. Oh there is a Shanti dual linear ultra low noise he reviews that goes for $159 so maybe that one instead of the eBay cheapo ones.

In any case, have to think low noise and enough power/current would be the primary goals of any lps for non audio path stuff (Switches, routers)
 

Gregm

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2019
287
196
115
France
Following up on Crashem's advice above (which I second), check the amp rating on the wall-wart as well the voltage.
Purchase a device form a reputable (non audiophile) manufacturer or retailer that matches or exceeds the amp rating (and provides the right voltage of course).
I have a purpose built supply for my music server and it made an easily discernible difference in clarity. The outlay is minimal in hi-end terms.
 

Echolane

Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2018
109
10
85
California
Thank you for helpful suggestions. As it happens I just remembered a power supply sitting unloved in a box in my garage. It came with something I made a mistake buying on eBay. But maybe I can finally get something good out of my mistake and make use of its power supply! Hopefully it has the right specs.
 

RnRmf

Well-Known Member
Apr 29, 2015
66
23
138
I replaced the stock plug on my switch and it improved the sound so go for it!
 
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Cybermaggies

Member
Nov 28, 2020
3
0
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50
I found replacing the wall wart on the Netgear cable modem had a dramatic effect on the sound of the system. I switched to a Plixir LPS. Deeper cleaner bass, blacker background, smoother mids and highs. Was an easily discernible difference compared to the wall wart. The Plixir is one of the pricier LPS's out there at $860 but for my system well worth the improvement.

Lumin U1 streamer(Tidal)
Berkeley Alpha DAC Ref 3
Benchmark LA4 pream
Legacy iV-2 amp
Magnepan 3.7i speaker
Iconoclast speaker wires and XLR's
GR Research B24 power cords
UBerBUSS line conditioner
 

Echolane

Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2018
109
10
85
California
I found replacing the wall wart on the Netgear cable modem had a dramatic effect on the sound of the system. I switched to a Plixir LPS. Deeper cleaner bass, blacker background, smoother mids and highs. Was an easily discernible difference compared to the wall wart. The Plixir is one of the pricier LPS's out there at $860 but for my system well worth the improvement.

Lumin U1 streamer(Tidal)
Berkeley Alpha DAC Ref 3
Benchmark LA4 pream
Legacy iV-2 amp
Magnepan 3.7i speaker
Iconoclast speaker wires and XLR's
GR Research B24 power cords
UBerBUSS line conditioner
That is just what I had hoped to hear, thanks. I found no benefit from the forgotten LPS in my garage. After reading a >500 long thread on another forum regarding an LPS for a nucleus I’ve ordered an Uptone JS-2. The Uptone LPS is in a similar price range to your Plixir and I was planning to use it on both the Netgear Nighthawk Router and the Roon Nucleus.
However, it just now occurs to me (!) is it worth spending so much money when three of my four stereo systems are in rooms well away from the router and the Roon Nucleus? In those 3 cases, the music stream is carried by Ethernet cable over 50’ - 60’, while only one audio system is nearby, in the same room. Will the LPS-improved audio stream retain its improvements all the way down a very long run of Ethernet cable? I have a feeling the answer is “no”. Meanwhile the stereo system that is nearby is not my primary system at all, in fact it less often used and then mostly for PC generated YouTube music streams which are most often not hi-res.

BTW, congrats on your wonderful DAC. I own the Reference Series 2 and wish it were a Series 3! also, I had an opportunity to audition Iconoclast speaker wire and could hear no difference in the audio.
 
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Cybermaggies

Member
Nov 28, 2020
3
0
6
50
That is just what I had hoped to hear, thanks. I found no benefit from the forgotten LPS in my garage. After reading a >500 long thread on another forum regarding an LPS for a nucleus I’ve ordered an Uptone JS-2. The Uptone LPS is in a similar price range to your Plixir and I was planning to use it on both the Netgear Nighthawk Router and the Roon Nucleus.
However, it just now occurs to me (!) is it worth spending so much money when three of my four stereo systems are in rooms well away from the router and the Roon Nucleus? In those 3 cases, the music stream is carried by Ethernet cable over 50’ - 60’, while only one audio system is nearby, in the same room. Will the LPS-improved audio stream retain its improvements all the way down a very long run of Ethernet cable? I have a feeling the answer is “no”. Meanwhile the stereo system that is nearby is not my primary system at all, in fact it less often used and then mostly for PC generated YouTube music streams which are most often not hi-res.

BTW, congrats on your wonderful DAC. I own the Reference Series 2 and wish it were a Series 3! also, I had an opportunity to audition Iconoclast speaker wire and could hear no difference in the audio.
I think you may find it more beneficial than you think. I took my Plixir LPS over to a friends house. He has a Lumin T2 in his system. It is connected to a wifi extender which connects wirelessly to the wifi base unit which connects to his cable modem. We tried the LPS on the wifi extender connected to his Lumin, then moved it to the wifi extender base then finally to the modem. The biggest improvement came from powering the modem with the LPS. His system did sound better when the LPS was connected to the wifi base and extender but only about 1/3 the improvement compared to the modem. It may be worthwhile to try it and see if this is the case with your system.

I auditioned the Iconoclast with five other comparably priced cables(Nordost, Audioquest, Silnote, Zenwave, Cardas). I found the Iconoclast to be the best sounding. I heard a bigger difference with the XLR's than with the speakers cables but I found both to be preferable to the others. It was smoother, more detailed, and better imaging. Differences were not huge but enough to choose them over the others.

Yes, the Berkeley has been great. Thank you.

Friend's system:

Lumin T2 streamer/DAC
Accuphase E-480 Integrated Amp
Spatial Audio M4 speakers
Silnote speaker cables and XLRs
GR Research B24 power cords
Netgear wifi extender and modem
 

Echolane

Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2018
109
10
85
California
I think you may find it more beneficial than you think. I took my Plixir LPS over to a friends house. He has a Lumin T2 in his system. It is connected to a wifi extender which connects wirelessly to the wifi base unit which connects to his cable modem. We tried the LPS on the wifi extender connected to his Lumin, then moved it to the wifi extender base then finally to the modem. The biggest improvement came from powering the modem with the LPS. His system did sound better when the LPS was connected to the wifi base and extender but only about 1/3 the improvement compared to the modem. It may be worthwhile to try it and see if this is the case with your system.

I auditioned the Iconoclast with five other comparably priced cables(Nordost, Audioquest, Silnote, Zenwave, Cardas). I found the Iconoclast to be the best sounding. I heard a bigger difference with the XLR's than with the speakers cables but I found both to be preferable to the others. It was smoother, more detailed, and better imaging. Differences were not huge but enough to choose them over the others.

Yes, the Berkeley has been great. Thank you.

Friend's system:

Lumin T2 streamer/DAC
Accuphase E-480 Integrated Amp
Spatial Audio M4 speakers
Silnote speaker cables and XLRs
GR Research B24 power cords
Netgear wifi extender and modem
I guess the only way to find out what it can do is to try it. I '', think trying to improve my system is going to be a huge challenge. I gather that every power supply has its own signature sound, so ideally I should try to listen to several.

i have to admit I have Completely forgotten about the modem in my system. in my situation I have a modem, then a router. it makes most sense to deal with the router in my situation.

I wanted to add that I suspect the reason the Iconoclast cables made no difference in my system is most likely because the speaker wires I was using were so good.
 
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